Forts of the American Frontier 1820-91: The Southern Plains and Southwest (Fortress, Volume 54)
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During the early decades of the 19th century, the Southern Plains of the North American continent were only occasionally visited by explorers, trappers, traders, and missionaries. The first trading posts and forts were built then, such as Adobe Walls in the panhandle of North Texas, and Tubac Presidio in New Mexico. During the 1840s, when the 'Great American Desert' became the scene of an inexorable westward expansion, European pioneers and settlers flooded overland from the eastern seaboard. As they headed west, these settlers invaded and absorbed the traditional lands of the Native American. Via a series of Acts passed by Congress, many members of the Five Civilized Tribes (the Creek, Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw and Seminole) were moved to reservations. It was hoped that a Permanent Indian Frontier guarded by a line of military forts would separate the Indian from the 'white man' forever. Numerous posts were built to police the southern end of this frontier between 1820 and 1840.
Following the establishment of the Republic of Texas in 1836, and the Mexican War of 1846-48, the lands and wealth then acquired lured many more migrants to the Southwest. The resulting trails first breached and then destroyed the Permanent Indian Frontier. The US Government constructed a line of forts on the Texan frontier in 1848-49 to protect traders and settlers. This chain, which included forts Graham, Worth, Gates, Crogham, Inge and Duncan, extended for more than 800 miles. In 1850-52 it became necessary to erect another line of posts 200 miles further west, in order to keep pace with the rapidly advancing frontier and protect against the marauding Kiowas and Comanches. To combat constant Apache and Navajo raids, a network of posts was built in New Mexico throughout the remainder of 1850s.
During the Civil War, the Texan forts seized and occupied by Confederate forces came under regular attack from marauding Indians. Also, in 1864, Kiowa and Comanche attacks on Santa Fe wagontrains on the borders of New Mexico Territory prompted a punitive expedition led by Colonel Christopher "Kit" Carson which led to the First Battle of Adobe Walls.
This book is a detailed exploration of the design and development and operational histories of all of these forts and defensive systems.
revealed a stone-paved walkway around its large parade. 34 (WIN) (UK Text) Job: E07-88974 Title: FOR 54 Forts Of The American Frontier (175#) Dtp: 184 Page: 34 a p b t t s C h q d b b c o s il n ll e of n s n ff at e e a ” e e 01-64_88974.qxd 7/31/06 5:30 PM Page 35 Life in a frontier fort Daily life at a frontier post was regulated by a strict schedule, which usually began at daylight when reveille was sounded, the flag was raised and cannon were fired if available. An officer’s
abandoned fort was occupied by a small community of white squatters by this time. While bedding down for an overnight stop at the Barlow and Sanderson Stage Station, Sergeant Jordan’s tiny command received news that Victorio and his band were approaching the Old Fort. On foot, as their horses had been worn out and not replaced, Jordan and his detachment marched through the night, arriving at their destination at dawn the next day to find that Victorio had not yet struck. Jordan set his men to
Forts Of The American Frontier (175#) Dtp: 184 Page: 8 01-64_88974.qxd 7/31/06 6:25 PM Page 9 Development of the forts Trade forts In 1821, Mexico overthrew three centuries of Spanish rule, and within months US traders forged a link between the Chihuahua Trail and a brand new route, the Santa Fe Trail. In coming years, they would use the two connected routes as a means of moving trade goods from Missouri through Santa Fe to Mexico. According to Josiah Gregg in his classic The Commerce of
warehouses were on the inside walls of the palisades.” The tribes that traded there were the Kiowas, Comanches, Wichitas, Tonkawas, Caddos and Delawares, who brought “furs of all kinds, dressed buffalo robes, dressed and raw deerskins, dried buffalo tongues, beeswax, and some had Mexican silver dollars.” The trade goods included “red and blue blankets, strips of blue cloth, bright gingham handkerchiefs, hoop iron, glass beads, vermillion, bright hued calico and wampum beads, along with tobacco,
considerable importance. Abandoned by the Army in 1870, renewed activity of the Apache under Victorio caused the Federal government to re-occupy Fort Cummings in 1881. By the following year, tents had taken over most of the fort site, although the romantic adobe ruins of the original fort remained nearby. By this time, the old barracks and quarters inside the fort were uninhabitable and the troops lived in tents outside its walls. The old barracks were used as the quartermaster corral, and the